Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/468

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Military training comes all in a lump; training by games is spread over many years. The former ends suddenly and for ever, the latter goes on as long as a man retains the power of running and a fair use of his limbs. Moreover, it is quite obvious that the general atmosphere of cricket and football fields is for a young man far preferable to that of the barracks. Barrack life is at best rather unsavoury—at least so it seems to me. I can well understand that three years spent in it may do an infinite amount of harm, whereas a playing-field cannot possibly do any one any harm, but only good. But to return to the respective results. Given that the two trainings produce practically the same purely physical result, and you have not made sure one does not produce a far better man than the other. Now I maintain that the training by means of games turns out by far the better man. The oft-repeated saying of the Duke of Wellington that the battle of Waterloo was won on the Eton playing-fields, has a deeper meaning than is usually attached to it. Games do more than strengthen muscles and teach courage and endurance. They give those who play them an unconquerable joie de vivre—a buoyancy that refuses to be overwhelmed. It is this pleasure in life, these eternal good spirits, that, in addition to courage, endurance, and physical powers, are the great benefits England has reaped and is still reaping from her love for games. And herein is one of her most fruitful resources. Mr Andrew Lang, in his unerring manner, has hit the nail exactly on the head. And what he says of cricket applies also in some degree to other games. "Cricket," he writes, "is a liberal education in itself, and demands temper, justice, and perseverance. There is more teaching in the playground than in schoolrooms"—he might have added, than in gymnasiums or drill-yards—"and a lesson better worth learning often. For there can be no good or enjoyable cricket without enthusiasm—without sentiment, one may almost say; a quality that enriches life and refines it; gives it, what life more and more is apt to lose, zest."

No one ever got much enthusiasm or zest out of parallel bars or squad drill. It is just this that makes all the difference. Physical training by means of games has all the advantages over that by means of military service which the voluntary and pleasant has over the compulsory and distasteful. In the former the subject can give full play to his instincts and becomes himself; in the latter he is checked and curbed and pressed into a mould. And the instincts to which games give scope are some of the best in human nature. Cricketers and footballers are far more likely